Simms takes on StorageTek distribution

High-end distributor Simms International has bolstered its storage solutions by engaging in a distribution agreement with tape vendor StorageTek.

The completion of this agreement marks a shift away from the direct-to-reseller distribution model currently undertaken by StorageTek. Up until the signing of this agreement, StorageTek always dealt direct with its solutions-focused resellers, according to Andrew Hilton, Simms International's managing director.

His mission will be to introduce the type of value-adds to the products which are essential to the successful selling of storage solutions.

"Because all the products we distribute tend to be fairly high end, we deal with most of the major national resellers," Hilton said. "StorageTek saw that as an effective way to expand its reseller base."

Hilton said StorageTek used Tech Pacific once upon a time, but storage these days is very much a solution and not just a product. Tech Pacific's box-shifting model is not applicable to high-end storage solutions, he said.

"You can't sell storage without all the value-adds. We will be selling solutions in partnership with our resellers. If they can identify prospects, we will then come up with a proposal, procure then go through the whole sale with them."

Hilton said that selling storage solutions "is not easy" and that a typical sales cycle could be "anything from two to eight months" and that it requires a "dynamic partnership" between vendor, distributor and reseller.

"There are not a lot of resellers out there at the moment that can successfully sell storage solutions on their own," Hilton said. "They need help and that is exactly what we want to do for them."

Hilton said 85 per cent of Simms' business is being generated around Compaq's StorageWorks. This agreement with StorageTek follows a recent alliance with Hitachi Data Systems and a yet-to-be-announced third vendor.

"The next step in this whole equation will be to wrap some financing into the deal so that customers can buy the solutions they want rather than the solution they can afford at the time.

All this is good news to Simms' prime partner Compaq as well. Although its StorageWorks solution is platform-independent, the majority of its users are NT-based.

"Compaq sees tremendous value from this as it will allow us to cross-sell StorageWorks into Unix platforms," Hilton said.